Two men make court appearances six years after Fond du Lac explosion

A homemade bomb was put in or near a mailbox near the door of a duplex on Doty Street
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(MGN graphic)(MGN)
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 4:20 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Two men have made court appearances for a bombing in the city of Fond du Lac six years ago.

On July 9, 2016, the city fire department responded to a fire at a duplex on Doty Street. An explosion near the door blew a hole from the porch into the living room and knocked out the windows of a neighbor’s home. The explosion knocked a renter from the living room into the bedroom; he told investigators he’d been sitting on a couch that was against that wall when he got up to walk to the bedroom; he believes that timing saved his life. State and federal investigators determined a bomb was planted in or around a mailbox by the door.

Elliot Schneider, who’s 24, and Jonas Johnson, who turns 24 next week, are both charged with being party to the crimes of First-Degree Reckless Injury, Damage of Property by Use of Explosives, three counts of First-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, and Intentionally Abusing a Hazardous Substance.

Together the charges carry more than 62 years in prison if convicted, but the prison time could be extended because they’re both repeat offenders.

Tuesday, the court ordered Johnson to be held on a $100,000 cash bond. Schneider, who was in court earlier this month, was given a signature bond of $30,000.

According to a criminal complaint, witnesses reported seeing two people run from the area after the explosion. Police received a tip that a 16-year-old named Elliot built a homemade bomb and placed it at the Doty St. home because someone there “ripped him off” for about $1,200. The intended target wasn’t at the house when the bomb exploded, but he told police Elliot Schneider “was the only person he knew that would know how to make a bomb and that he studied that kind of stuff.”

Four days before the explosion, on July 5, Fond du Lac police investigated what appeared to be homemade fireworks at the Portland Street parking ramp. Police found a large amount of dried blood and a trail of blood leading away from the parking ramp but lost the trail.

When police interviewed Schneider in mid-August, they noticed he had “numerous enflamed circles of various sizes” on his legs. He admitted he tried to light off a homemade firework in the parking ramp, and said he and Jonas Johnson were injured when the glass jar exploded. Johnson would later admit being at the Portland Street parking ramp but said he was at the bottom of the ramp and didn’t witness the explosion.

In December of 2020, more than four years after the bombing, police received another tip from someone who associated with Schneider in 2016. They said Schneider often made homemade bombs by emptying gunpowder from fireworks and that Schneider frequently talked about getting back at the person he accused of stealing his money.

In March, 2021, another witness told investigators he wasn’t truthful in a 2016 interview. He admitted he was skateboarding with Johnson near the Doty St. house when Johnson went up on the porch. A minute later, as they were skateboarding down the street, there was a loud boom and Johnson started running.

In the complaint, people involved claimed Schneider paid Johnson $175 to put the bomb in the victim’s mailbox.

Fond du Lac County District Attorney, Eric Toney, says “Law enforcement has continued to investigate this bombing and we will work with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute acts of violence to keep our communities safe.” People with information are asked to call Fond du Lac Detective Mikulec at (920) 322-3726.

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